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Special Issue 2023

“Unsettling Global Midwests”

Guest Editors: Chris Perreira, Tom Sarmiento, Bianet Castellanos

Guest Creative Editor: Jessica Lopez Lyman

Maria Cristina Tavera, The Connection: Atquetzali billboard on the left. Social Justice Billboard Project by NE SCULPTURE I Gallery
Factory
Photo credit: Xavier Tavera
Maria Cristina Tavera, The Connection: Atquetzali billboard (left). Social Justice Billboard Project by NE SCULPTURE I Gallery Factory. Photo credit: Xavier Tavera

One of the strengths of American Studies (AMSJ) is its unique status as an international journal published by a regional association, contributing to what editorial board member Davarian Baldwin calls “transnational American studies from the vantage point of the Midwest.” The authors of this proposal seek to create a forum through a 2023 special issue of AMSJ in order to explore the Midwest as a vibrant region that is and has been a locus of creative intellectual production, as well as a center of social transformation and politics that speak to local, national, and international audiences.

We seek submissions (essays, as well as alternative forms such as poems, comics, artwork) that ask: what does it mean to center the Midwest without reducing it to a subcategory; to see it as dynamic, vibrant, contested, interconnected, and transitive? If the “Midwest” is a project of interrogating received wisdom about time and space, urban and rural, and local and global, then “global Midwests” insists that the Midwestern U.S. is not an isolated part of the “rest” of the U.S. and the world, but, in fact, can help us to see and make connections, and to reorient local and global imaginings of American empire.

Topics & creative themes include, but are not limited to:

  • How the protests in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd inspired protests locally, regionally, and globally;
  • Anti-Asian violence past and present in the Midwest;
  • How the Midwest breaks up coastal biases in US-American studies (for example in LGBTQ studies, Latino/a/e/x studies, Black studies, Native & Indigenous studies, Asian/American studies, Disability studies, etc.);
  • The Midwest as a symbol for American culture and values in general in global spaces;
  • The Midwest as a site of Indigenous struggle over land and sovereignty;
  • Settler coloniality and diasporic formations in the Midwest;
  • Refugee resettlement (e.g., Hmong, Somali, Afghan);
  • Approaches to the Midwest through a focus on oil, pipelines, and plant and animal species including industrial agriculture and factory farming;
  • Climate crisis in the Midwest (e.g., rising rivers and derechos);
  • The Midwest as industrial/post-industrial site: studies of mid-sized cities that are being overlooked and that challenge urban/rural binaries;
  • Midwestern global cities (e.g., Chicago);
  • The Midwest as an uneven nexus of labor, migration, trafficking (bodies, commodities, goods), and gentrification;
  • The Midwest as a place of diverse global faiths and spiritualities, though often identified with a supposedly unifying Christianity;
  • Queering the Heartland;
  • Cultural and artistic production in the Midwest;
  • Aesthetics of the diasporic Midwest;
  • (Im)migration communities and their diasporas in the Midwest;
  • Internationalization of Midwestern college & university student bodies;
  • US-Canandian borderlands

Please submit proposals (300-500 words) for essays or creative works by June 1, 2022. Invitations for full submissions will be sent out by June 15, 2022. Full submission deadline will be September 1, 2022. Please submit abstracts to guest editors Bianet Castellanos, Tom Sarmiento, Jessica Lopez Lyman, and Chris Perreira at: unsettlingglobalmidwestsamsj@gmail.com.


PAST

SPECIAL ISSUE 2022

Across Global Souths: Asian Migrations through the U.S. South and the Circum-Caribbean

Guest Edited by Joo Ok Kim and Giselle Liza Anatol

Courtesy of ggggrimes Art

Across Global Souths: Asian Migrations through the U.S. South and the Circum-Caribbean seeks to investigate Asian/American cultures, politics, and relationships across multiple Souths, with an emphasis on the U.S. South and the Caribbean. In the United States, ideas of “Asian America” continue to circulate around communities on the East and West coasts. The Across Global Souths: Asian Migrations through the U.S. South and the Circum-Caribbean project reframes the conversation with an emphasis on journeys to and from multiple souths. The CFP considers the broader U.S. geopolitical designation of “Souths” (including Texas and the US Gulf Coast). Grounded within recent scholarly developments in the field of American Studies, the CFP invites further reflections on the diaspora condition of the category “Asian,” as well as the diasporic condition of the category “Southerner,” and simultaneously challenges conceptions of an exclusively white, Euro-American U.S. citizenry.

What distinguishes this research, firmly ensconced within both American Studies and current Global South frameworks, is the comparative focus on Asians in the U.S. South and the Caribbean and Caribbean diasporas. While Global South Studies has raised important questions on “south/south” and hemispheric discourses, and Caribbean Studies has long foregrounded archipelagic and transnational critiques of colonialism, an interdisciplinary examination of Asian migration within two locations that share centuries of overlapping histories–the U.S. South and the Caribbean–has been understudied. Even as we foreground the geographical spaces of the U.S. South and the Caribbean, we also invite broader theorizations of “south” that convene other under-examined geographies, such as the U.S. Midwest, and a range of methodologies.

We seek essays that articulate transregional, comparative U.S. South / Caribbean emphases and interdisciplinary approaches. Possible topics could include:

  • Politics and politicians of Asian heritage across the U.S. South and Caribbean, Asian American grassroots politics, and radical political cultures;
  • Nineteenth-century history, such as Asian indentured servants transported to the Caribbean, the arrival of Chinese workers from Cuba and California to the Mississippi Delta, the building of the Panama Canal, the Filipino Saint Malo settlement in Louisiana;
  • Twentieth-century history, such as Japanese American internment in the U.S. South, the Japanese American presence in postwar Georgia and Arkansas, including in the chick-sexing industry;
  • literary representations of Asian/Americans in the Caribbean, in the U.S. South, in Latin America (e.g. Gun Island, The Pagoda, Monkey Hunting, Kira-Kira, works by V.S. Naipual, Shani Mootoo, Stacey-Ann Chin, etc.);
  • films (e.g. Minari, Mississippi Masala, Jeronimo, etc.); visual arts, music, and sound studies;
  • Indigeneities across the Caribbean
  • studies of multiracial subjectivities: racial affiliation, being ‘claimed’ or ‘rejected’ by multiple heritage communities;
  • ethnographic work that investigates convergent spaces and unexpected places in the American Souths (e.g. farms, restaurants, motels, beauty supply stores, spas, fishermen’s circles, Asian sweatshop economies) as sources of cultural production;
  • overlapping legacies of food and colonialism across the U.S. South and Caribbean;
  • Gulf South and Caribbean ecologies;
  • gender, sexuality, and/or misogynist anti-Asian/American violence; queer and trans* liberation;
  • alternative kinships and genealogies; the movements of DNA ancestry testing on Asian/American populations; Asian adoptees in the U.S. South;
  • exploring or challenging archival collections (e.g. Digital Library of the Caribbean, The Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive, special collections of university repositories across the U.S. South and the Caribbean);
  • parallels among South Korea, South Vietnam, and the American South;
  • religion and spirituality.

Email abstracts of 250-400 words to j.kim@ku.edu and ganatol@ku.edu by May 21, 2021. Notification of invitation to submit articles by mid-June 2021. Full drafts will be due by Friday, December 3, 2021.

SPECIAL ISSUE 2021

Our Shared Planet: The Environment Issue

For people of color, the future has never been a given. Whether through the policies and practices of state-sanctioned genocide, enslavement, internment, or forced relocation and migration, racialized communities have survived their worlds ending, over and over. To cite the opening lines of Sun Ra’s 1974 Afrofuturist film Space Is the Place, “It’s after the end of the world, don’t you know that yet?” This special issue critically interrogates the supposed universal notions of a shared planet, ecological demise, and what it means to be human in an era of climate change. The collection aims to center the perspectives of people of color historically and in our contemporary moment on how they envision(ed) “surviving” apocalypse. Instead of considering race as a peripheral or ancillary extension to notions of humanity, this special edition posits race as central to the project of rethinking the human and non-human relationships that form this planet. Indeed, scholars, artists, and activists engaged in what is often termed “race work” have never left the question of the human behind. We welcome submissions that position race (including whiteness) as a theoretical, aesthetic, and practical starting point at which to tackle a socially just version of climate change.

We are especially interested in engagements with and entanglements amongst Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, Latinx Futurism, and Asian American Futurism that might engage with but are not limited to the following questions:

  • What happens when people of color are centered in narratives of the future? How does this recentering reveal the limits of contemporary scholarship on climate change?
  • How might alternative and queer spaces, epistemologies, timelines, histories, and cultural practices engage with notions of a “shared” planet?
  • How do utopia and dystopia take on different meanings in the context of colonialism and white supremacy?
  • What role does race play in cultural articulations of a “shared” planet rooted in critical animals studies and/or critical plant studies?
  • How do histories of settler colonialism, antiblack racism, and techno-orientalism cut through imaginations of a shared, or unshareable, planet from different racialized groups?
  • What do notions of “survival” and “perseverance”, as well as “abundance” and “permanence” limit or yield for us?

We invite submissions from activists and independent scholars, as well as creative writers and artists, as some of the most visionary research on race and futurity is being articulated outside of academia. We stand by American Studies’ commitment to scholarship that is “accessible to a variety of readers, not solely to academic specialists.” The work around climate change requires this type of broad and creative engagement.

The deadline for submission of complete articles and creative pieces is August 31, 2020. Original photography, artwork, and poetry are welcome. Artistic submissions (.png or .tiff file) and written submissions (.doc, .docx, or .pdf file) should be sent to oursharedplanet@gmail.com. Articles should be no more than 25 double-spaced pages in length, excluding endnotes and images. Citations should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. All article submissions will undergo an anonymous peer-review process. For more information on American Studies general submission guidelines, including graphic requirements for original artwork, please consult https://journals.ku.edu/amsj. Please address any other questions to guest editors Serenity Joo and Pacharee Sudhinaraset at oursharedplanet@gmail.com.

SPECIAL ISSUE 2020

The Arts in the Black Press During the Age of Jim Crow

American Studies invites submissions for a special issue, to be published in Fall 2020, focused upon coverage of the arts in the black press between Reconstruction and the end of legalized Jim Crow segregation in the 1960s. African American magazines and newspapers flourished during this era, providing rich, varied reporting on the cultural events that mainstream press outlets distorted or ignored. Critics and reporters on the arts beat not only brought to light the creative output of black musicians, filmmakers, writers, and visual artists, but also investigated the role the arts played in the long struggle against oppression, as well as the economic and cultural impact of the arts on black communities and the United States as a whole. As the journalistic discourses that emerged in the black press make clear, the heterogeneous artistic scene of black America thrived during these years, even within an oppressive environment that constantly discounted and disrespected black lives. Arts coverage bolstered and amplified the messages that press outlets sought to convey via more straightforwardly political reporting, and productively complicates our understanding of what made these newspapers and magazines such powerful forums for intraracial conversation and organizing. The black press thus represents a uniquely significant archival resource that brings to light cultural practices otherwise absent from both public memory and scholarly research.

We welcome contributions on any appropriate topic from scholars working across all disciplines including submissions that address the following questions: what roles did women play in the Jim Crow-era black press, and what were the politics of gender and sexuality within the medium? How does arts coverage in the black press inform or challenge our understanding of the politics of respectability and racial uplift ideology? How did the black press figure into transnational and diasporic networks of intellectual exchange? How did it interact with other types of African American and American print culture? How did it function as a site of racial formation, especially in conjunction with questions of class, gender, and sexuality? How have recent endeavors in the digital and public humanities expanded and transformed the scope of research into the black press?

The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2019. Articles should be sent as .doc or .docx attachments by email to artsblackpress@gmail.com. Submissions should be no more than 25 double-spaced pages in length, excluding endnotes and images. Citations should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. We are also happy to consider colloquies about a single topic consisting of several short pieces by individual contributors; the convener of the colloquy should solicit and edit contributions before submitting the entire text of the colloquy. For more information on American Studies’ submission guidelines, please consult this page. Please address any other questions to Lucy Caplan or Kristen Turner at artsblackpress@gmail.com.

2020 BLOG CFP

On Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

AMSJ’s editors are seeking contributions for a new blog series, “​On Teaching​ in the Time of COVID-19.

We look to this unfolding crisis as a flashpoint with the potential to frame how we engage students, educators, colleges and universities, and the various communities within/outside. As this new ​outbreak narrative​ (Wald, 2008) interrupts, redirects, and reconfigures meaning across the globe, we invite scholars and teachers to consider how COVID-19 unsettles on local/global stages as it manifests in and outside of the classroom. How might cultural production and social texts (literature, film, archives, social movements, creative expression) help think through the shifts and turns of the current public health crisis? And how is American studies (and other critical fields) positioned to help students make sense of the moment and point to new ways of imagining different futures? We are especially interested in contributions working at the intersections of race, class, dis/ability, citizenship, gender, sexuality, and/or language–as well as those considering the ways digital technologies and open-source platforms are both crucial and limited as tools for intervening in this discussion. 700-800 words.

SPECIAL ISSUE 2019

New Directions in Black Western Studies

We are seeking proposals for the 57th Western History Association Conference workshop and American Studies Special Issue: “New Directions in Black Western Studies.”

Though several scholarly historical treatments of Blacks in the North American West exist, few engage with what Black Western Studies means in a contemporary context. Over the past decade there has been a return to the west in intellectual and artistic production at a rate not seen since the 1970s. Several critically acclaimed television series, films, music albums, and literary texts are rooted firmly in western historical legacies. Likewise, the relationship between Blackness and western geographical and cultural identity has been explored in various disciplinary genres. From film, music, literature, and art to theatre, architecture, and museum studies, These possibilities drive several questions undergirding this workshop at the 2017 Western History Association Conference.

How do we make sense of conventional westerns and science fiction westerns such as HBO’s Westworld and AMC’s Hell on Wheels that  feature black characters in lead roles, but render the mythic west primarily a “white” space? How do we hear songs that claim the West as a site of a distinct “authentic” black culture? Here, N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton” (1988), 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” (1996), and Kendrick Lamar’s “Compton” (2012) come to mind. How do musicians conjure up images of the Black West in their lyrics and chords? How do we make sense of memorials and commemorations of Blacks in the West that position their presence as part of frontier exceptionalism? How do we document riots and revolutions in a black western context? How do murals of Black subjects in Western cities serve as correctives to cowboy and pioneer histories of the West?  How have fiction and creative non-fiction writers imagined the Black West in their texts? Is the Black West gendered? What are the boundaries of the Black West? For example, when we include the American Pacific states and western Canadian territories in our understanding of the Black West, how does that open up new avenues for understanding black Western subjectivities?  

Papers accepted for the WHA workshop will be vetted for a subsequent special issue of American Studies (AMSJ) on Black Western Studies. For both the workshop and the journal we are interested in what it means to read the North American West as a Black space with varied and deep possibilities.. By this we mean, how the concept of presenting/representing the West is informed by black identities and identity-making, rival geographies tied to black mobility, black culture, black knowledge production, black arts, and black literatures. The WHA workshop and AMSJ special issue  will fill a gap in American Studies by bringing Black Western Studies into current dialogue with other fields of American Studies that focus on the intersections between race, ethnicity, and place/geography. Borderland studies, Canadian Studies, Midwestern Studies, Southern Studies, and Asian/Pacific/American Studies are just a few examples of such fields. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • 21st century Television and Film 
  • Reconsidering Public Memorials, Museums, and Historic Preservation
  • Photography
  • Visual Arts (painting, murals, and sculptures)
  • Literatures  
  • New Media
  • Music and Song
  • Theatre and Performance
  • Architecture and Built Environment
  • Graphic Novels and Comic Books
  • Gender and/or Sexuality
  • Urban and/or Rural Spaces

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be emailed to Jeannette Eileen Jones, Kalenda Eaton, and Michael Johnson at blackwesternstudies2017@gmail.com by 30 June 2017.

All submissions should include the name of the author, title/position, institution, email address, a short profile, the title of the proposed paper, and the abstract. Once accepted, drafts of complete papers will be due from contributors by 15 September 2017.

Note: Accepted contributors must register for and attend the 2017 Western History Association, which will meet 01-04 November 2017 at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, San Diego, CA. 

During the conference the accepted contributors and guest editors (Jones, Eaton, and Johnson) will workshop pre-circulated drafts of papers in a closed session for two days (Thursday and Friday). The contributors will present their work in an open session on the last morning (Saturday) of the conference. Please note that all papers MUST go through a blind peer-review process with American Studies (AMSJ) prior to final publication. We expect the special issue to be published in 2018.

SPECIAL ISSUE 2018

Food in U.S. Culture

Seeking papers and articles (of all lengths) for a special American Studies volume on “Food in U.S. Culture.” Why do we eat what we eat? How do we eat what we eat? How was the food produced, distributed, and prepared? Essays that engage food studies as a lens through which to understand the structure of U.S. ethnic, gendered, racial, and regional communities and individual identities, assimilation, and resistance to assimilation are especially welcome.

Essays that consider any of the following are also encouraged: 

  • agricultural aspects of food, farm policy, the organics industry, factory farms
  • food processing, including the roles of labor, technologies, govt. regulations
  • distribution, including supermarkets, farmers’ markets in urban centers 
  • restaurants, as well as the local farm networks that support them 
  • domesticity and food practices 
  • consumption and diet (e.g., politics of nutrition, food-related diseases, fat shaming, consideration of the ban on soda pop) 
  •  obesogenic versus leptogenic environments; the class and racial dimensions of areas designated as “food deserts”
  • food and the expressive arts 
  • food and American religions
  • food practices as a philosophy of life  
  • food and environmentalism, including the role of the green movement
  • macro level analysis of institutional food politics (e.g. prisons, schools, hospitals)

For further information, contact the Guest Editor: Prof. Lauren Rabinovitz, Department of American Studies, University of Iowa; Questions or submission via e-mail: lauren-rabinovitz@uiowa.edu   Deadline for submission: September 1, 2017

All articles will undergo double-blind peer review prior to appearing in American Studies.

SPECIAL ISSUE 2017

70 Years after Mendez v. Westminster (1947)

Mendez v. Westminister (1947) desegregated California schools and was decided in the California federal courts. Gonzalo Mendez along with other Mexican American parents sued on behalf of their children challenging the status of separate Mexican schools in Orange County. The verdict in favor of the plaintiffs was the first ruling in the country against segregation. It also served as a precursor to the more famous Brown v. Board of Education (1954) court case and used many of the social science arguments against segregation that would were later used in Brown. Two months after the ruling California governor Earl Warren (who would later serve as Supreme Court Chief Justice during Brown) signed a bill ending California segregation.

    In this special issue the co-editors, Dr. Norma E. Cantú and Dr. Valerie Mendoza, propose to explore the legacy of Mendez by examining Latinx social justice issues historically and in current situations by gathering traditional scholarly essays and the stories of community members–those “on the ground” living these social justice issues. We also welcome approaches to the topic through the arts (visual, poetry, and short fiction, etc.).

For Mexican-origin peoples the post 1947 period marks the coming of age of second-generation immigrants, many of whom served in the military during WWII and nearly all of whom found their “American-ness” questioned. It also marks the bracero era. For those of Puerto Rican heritage, this era marks the beginnings of mass migration to the mainland, and this is a period of significant US involvement in the domestic affairs of Central American nations, which leads to late twentieth century migrations.

For this issue the co-editors envision social justice broadly. Articles may cover immigration, civil rights, and multi-racial space from US or Latin American perspectives. This could include the following:

  • Immigration and immigrants: policy and personal stories
  • Segregation
  • Incarceration
  • Language
  • Education
  • Afro-Latinos
  • Puerto Rico’s economic crisis
  • Latinx labor rights
  • Wage theft

We invite submissions from scholars, visual artists, and creative writers. Along with your finished piece, attach a brief two- page cv to Dr. Valerie M. Mendoza at vmendoza@ku.edu. Review of submissions will begin September 1, 2016.


Dialogues: Blog of the American Studies Journal

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